Hydrogen Leak Leads to Fire Incident at Major Chemical Complex in Germany

A recent incident occurred at BASF’s expansive chemicals facility in Ludwigshafen, Germany, involving a hydrogen leak that resulted in a “brief ignition” around 10:40 pm on April 30th, promptly contained by the onsite fire department, according to an official company statement.

The flames were swiftly extinguished using a specialized “turbo extinguisher” affixed to a fire engine.

Following the incident, BASF reported that the affected plant was promptly shut down, and any excess gases were safely burned off using the relevant flare system.

Fortunately, there were no reported injuries from the incident, and investigations are ongoing to determine the root cause.

The Ludwigshafen site, spanning approximately 10 square kilometers, is recognized as the world’s largest integrated chemical complex under BASF.

Hydrogen, recognized as an indirect greenhouse gas and highly flammable substance prone to explosion under specific conditions, did not result in any explosions on this occasion.

BASF’s environmental monitoring vehicles were dispatched both within and beyond the factory grounds, detecting slightly elevated readings near the affected area.

This incident is a reminder of the hazards inherent in chemical production. Previously, in October 2016, a tragic explosion occurred at the same plant due to a pipeline breach involving a butylene mixture, resulting in the loss of four lives, including three BASF fire brigade members.

Image source: BASF